Austin Dining Guide

8 06 2011

On vacation I am known to scout out restaurants and eat for days. It is vacation, right? My recent trip to Austin included a lot, and I mean a lot of food. I think I only skipped one meal and it was only because I was still so full from a previous dining adventure. Here are some of the restaurants we visited.

Uchi

Besides home style, southern cooking I crave meals originating from Asia. Something about all of the textures, flavors, salt and just pure genius calls to me on a regular basis. On my last trip to Uchi restaurant I about died and went to food heaven, so I knew that upon my return that this was one place worth another visit. Uchi has a wonderful happy hour that includes a tasting menu. Served from 5-6:30, even on Saturdays, you cannot pass this opportunity to order such a wonderful assortment of food.  We feasted on 9 dishes, includes two repeats, and one from the regular menu.  The pictures above included all of our orders from the tasting menu and below is the order we received them: hama chili (yellowtail sashimi, thai chili, orange), uchiviche (salmon, striped bass, yellow bell pepper, tomato, cilantro), crunchy spicy tuna hand roll (with avocado, cucumber, tempura flakes), machi cure (Maplewood smoked hamachi, yucca, asian pear, marcona almods, white soy), walu walu (seared escolar, yuzupon, yuzu marmalade), kakiage (sweet potato-onion fritter), shag roll (salmon, sun-dried tomato, avocado, squid ink sumiso).  Nine tastings, 4 glasses of wine and 2 hours later our total bill was only around $100 with tip. As I said, this is so worth the trip, especially during happy hour. Of course, the menu is just as fabulous during regular dining hours, but you are going to pay quite a bit more.  Also, sit at the sushi bar if seating is available!

Food Heads

For a quick lunch one day and to beat off starvation we stopped at the every so cute and comfortable Food Heads. This breakfast and lunch spot is a great place to grab a table outdoors and enjoy the afternoon. You might see a few students studying or those coming off the trails refueling for the day or friends catching up over a good meal. The sandwiches are plentiful.  You order at the counter and they bring your food to your table.  Make sure you try the pickled sides!

The Backspace

After a long flight/layover and a visit to The Ginger Man pub, three of us took a rickshaw (it was so much fun), and headed to The Backspace for dinner. This relatively new and absolutely lovely restaurant with seating for around 30, including seating at the bar,  and smelled ever so wonderful upon opening the door. The smells of cooking cheese, both on pizzas and their homemade ricotta made the fifteen minute wait complete torture but the meal was worth every moment.  We feasted on appetizers, a carne plate of prosciutto and sopressata, as well as, baked ricotta served with poached tomatoes, olive oil and lemon, and roasted sprouts, paired with pancetta and pecorino romano.  Feeling the needs to continue the dining experience we also ordered a bianca pizza topped with arugula, mozzarella, ricotta and pecorino cheese.   Decorated with what I assume are old church chandeliers and the tall, red votives traditional to catholic churches, this warm and inviting space makes the carb and dairy lover in all of us rejoice and ask for more!

East Side Show Room

Old fashioned drinks, a piano player, movies on the wall, industrial lighting and a menu on the beams. Love the décor, love the vibe and the clean food. While flavor was a bit lacking in some of our dishes, the collard greens were spectacular. Truthfully, I believe that you will be so impressed by the décor that you could sit at the bar, admire the atmosphere and have a cocktail and an appetizer and be perfectly happy with the world.

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